Virology 2012

A Biophysical and Evolutionary Research Perspective


Jeffrey A. Sands : e-mail

Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Lehigh University

I started this website in 1998 for the course BIOS 353 Virology at Lehigh University, and I updated it for ten years, through spring 2007, with a few updates inserted since then. This course website was selected in 2004 for inclusion in the Natioanl Leadership Resource Database by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, "To express our appreciation for your contribution to our efforts to promote liberal education and to engage students in learning for our common health."

In this advanced course, we will study viruses at the levels of their molecular biology and genetics, and their interactions with the host organism. Our coverage will focus almost entirely on viruses that infect humans and cause serious disease. We will take a comparative approach, and ask questions from a biophysical and evolutionary perspective.

Useful websites for up-to-date viral disease information are the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (including its journal Emerging Infectious Diseases) and the World Health Organization. There are many journals publishing new virology research; the ones we will use the most in the course are Science , Nature, Journal of Virology , Journal of General Virology , Virology , and Journal of Infectious Diseases. Updated 2009-2012 information on influenza ia available at

Course Grading
: Half of your grade will be based on participation, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and presentations during the semester: 1. "professional level discussion/assignment" days during January and February; 2. "short journal article" presentations in late March and early April; 3. "long journal article presentations" in mid-late April; and 4. "announced quizzes" as deemed appropriate. The other half of your grade will be based on a final exam in May. You should establish a notebook for all of the material in this course. Build the notebook into a thorough, complete document (your own "Virology Textbook") by the end of the semester. The final exam will be "open notebook".


SCHEDULE AND LECTURE NOTES (From Spring 2007, with some more recent updates through January 2011.)
(University statement on accomodations for students with disabilities)

Date                             Topic                                     

January             Course Organization and Introduction

January             Introduction (continued), with Biophysical Calculations

Januaryn           Virus Classification and Structures

January             Virus Classification and Structures (continued)

January             Attachment and Penetration into Cells

January             Professional-level Discussion and/or Assignment

January             Replication of Herpesviruses (dsDNA genome)

January             Replication of Poxviruses (dsDNA genome)

February           Professional-level Discussion and/or Assignment

February           Replication of Picornaviruses (Pos.-sense ssRNA genome)

February           Replication of Orthomyxoviruses (Neg.-sense ssRNA genome)

February           Professional-level Discussion and/or Assignment           

February           Replication of Reoviruses (dsRNA genome)

February           Replication of Retroviruses (ssRNA genome, reverse transcribing)

February           Professional-level Discussion and/or Assignment

February           Immune Response to Viral Infection      

February          Viral Vaccines      

February          Professional-level Discussion and/or Assignment     

February          Antiviral Drugs

February            Antiviral Drugs (cont.)

March            Spring Break begins.   Information for Student Presentations

March            Influenza Epidemiology and Evolution

March            Influenza Epidemiology and Evolution (continued)               

March            Influenza Epidemiology and Evolution (continued)

March            HIV Epidemiology and Evolution, Part 1

March            HIV Epidemiology and Evolution, Part 2

March            HIV Epidemiology and Evolution, Part 3

March-April           Student Presentations from  Emerging Infectious Diseases

April                       Student Presentations from Virology, Journal of Virology, and Journal of Infectious Diseases

2012: J. A. Sands

Link to Fall 2005 Genetics course.